Sunday, October 30, 2011

Accumulation Games: The Self Inflicted Harm Model

I dunno, I think most readers would agree that if you keep eating a meal you like, for example, you'll get sick to death of it. Or if you keep wearing the same T-shirt, you'll get sick to death of it (thus the advice go on holiday with a T-shirt you don't mind throwing away latter).

So, what of the traditional online accumulation style game?

Well, lets say you even like killing the monsters. What happens when you kill them over and over and over again? Do you still actually like doing it?

I would actually pose that the regular gamer actually inflicts self harm on what they like, in order to kill 200 Dohikies so they can get a purple Wakamole. I mean, what's a more integral part of yourself - your skin or what you enjoy? I'd say the latter, yet we call someone cutting their skin with a box cutter self harm, don't we. What about when it's something even more personal?

Worse, this self harm -becomes- the game. It IS game play, to them. They will say that if people didn't need to do raid X to get purple item Y, then the vast majority of people wouldn't keep doing that raid. As if that's a bad thing. People playing things that they find fun has ceased to be the point, anymore. Only the expunging of enjoyable play remains. A flagellant.

"But we love accumulation!"

I think there are ways around it, design wise.

Here's an example - lets say the activity is killing a Dohiky. Okay, the structure is that if you kill one once, sure, it racks up one kill, but each day after, you automatically rack up another kill.

If you actually play and kill Dohikies, then very slowly the amount of automatic kills you get each day goes up to two. Then three, etc to some sort of cap.

This way, you can STOP before you get sick of it, and yet know that you haven't wasted your time playing so far. Because if you wait long enough, the automatic kills will add up to the total.

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